European Commission to support plant-based diets in new Farm to Fork Strategy

Read Time:   |  20th May 2020

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The European Commission is supporting a shift to plant-based diets in its new Farm to Fork Strategy, but fails to remove EU funding for meat promotion


Humane Society International is urging farmers to “farm for the future of meat-reduced diets” following the publication of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy which promotes a shift to planet-friendly plant-based diets.

Farm to Fork Strategy

The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to achieve a “fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system” and is an important component of the European Green Deal.

The deal seeks to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050, improve people’s well-being and to protect the natural habitat.

The new strategy cites the impact of food on the climate, reducing obesity rates and cancer prevention as key health reasons why it is necessary for the public to shift to a more plant-based diet.

“Big reductions in meat and dairy are vital”

The move towards plant-based eating has been welcomed by animal welfare campaigners at Humane Society International, who are animal calling on Europe’s farmers to get behind the strategy by farming for the future of meat-reduced diets.

In a statement, Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said that climate scientists have long been in agreement that “big reductions in meat and dairy are vital” if we are to reach our climate change target as “animal farming makes up roughly 70% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.”

She added that the “fact that EU research funds will now be dedicated to expanding the availability of plant-based proteins and meat substitutes” would be welcomed by “climate-conscious citizens across Europe” who are “increasingly shifting their diets to include more planet-friendly and animal-friendly plant-based foods.”

“Fallen short”

Despite the promotion of plant-based diets however, Swabe believes that the Commission has “fallen short” by failing to cease the promotion of meat consumption and continuing to spend millions of Euros each year on promoting meat production and consumption.

Rather than helping to phase out animal agriculture, it will instead use its promotion programme to “support the most sustainable, carbon-efficient methods of livestock production.”

Swabe said that the decision was “deeply disappointing that the EU has chickened out of ending the practice of pouring millions of euros into promoting inefficient and unsustainable meat production and meat consumption.”

She added that; “If we want to save the planet, we need to stop producing so much meat and dairy, and support a transition to more sustainable forms of agriculture.

Farming for a meat-reduced future is something that all farmers should get behind because they are a vital part of the solution. Far from taking away their livelihoods, the plant-based revolution offers a wealth of new and more sustainable possibilities.

We should be supporting farmers to transition to new crops and production models, to grow the peas and pulses and vegetables at the heart of rocketing demand for plant-centric diets.”

Find out why leading doctors are calling for an end to factory farming here

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